Signature Theatre to Feature Works by Foster, Gwon, HAIRSPRAY & More in 2011-2012 Season

Signature_New_Musicals_Foster_etc_20010101Eric Schaeffer, Artistic Director of the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, today announced the company's 2011-2012 season, with the visionary company producing two regional premieres and an unprecedented five world premiere works. The Theatre's 22nd season further cements the ground-breaking Theatre's standing as an innovative leader in mounting daring new works by rising new artists.

Schaeffer stated, "Signature's season is filled with extraordinary surprises, exceptional music, and exciting re-interpretations. With five fascinating world premieres, we once again show our commitment to showcasing bold new works by some of the best artists working today." Schaeffer continued, "With Hairspray, God of Carnage, and Xanadu also on tap, we continue to bring audiences reinventions of theatrical experiences that can't be found anywhere else."

Maggie Boland, Signature's Managing Director, said, "With an extraordinary combination of artists well known to our stages alongside some important emerging talents, the 2011-12 line-up will provide audiences with a remarkably broad spectrum of projects through which to experience Signature's mission. We hope the whole community will join us for our Target Open House on July 23 to experience a special preview of the season as part of a day packed with free performances. Like the season itself, our Open House will be bigger and better than ever."

Subscription packages for mainstage shows are now on sale by calling Signature's Box Office at (703) 820-9771. Single tickets will go on sale July 5th. Limited engagements can be added to a mainstage subscription. The cabaret 4-show subscription and Holiday Follies Cabaret are also available for purchase.

SIGNATURE THEATRE's 2011-2012 Season

Book by Hunter Foster
Music & Lyrics by Matt Conner
Based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Directed by Eric Schaeffer

From the composer of Nevermore and Partial Eclipse, The Hollow is a chilling musical reinterpretation of the classic thriller The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In a devout 18th century village, a mysterious stranger spreading radically new ideas challenges the traditional order. However, when rumors spread of a headless horseman murdering friends and neighbors, the townsfolk blame the outsider for this demonic curse.

"Matt Conner will be heard of many times in the future." -

August - October 2011 in the MAX

Book by Joe Meno
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Based on novel The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
Directed by Joe Calarco

The Boy Detective Fails, based on Joe Meno's acclaimed novel, tells the story of Billy Argo, "boy detective." In the twilight of a childhood full of wonder, a broken-hearted Billy faces a mystery he can't comprehend - the shocking death of his young sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline. Ten years later, a 30-year old Billy returns to his quiet New Jersey town after an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the mentally ill. Although determined to solve the mystery of Caroline's death and right old wrongs, he instead discovers a world full of unimaginable strangeness, beauty and love.

"An extremely talented composer and lyricist" who "is seriously going places." - The New York Sun,

August - October 2011 in the MAX

Additional works of the season include:

Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray
Directed by Eric Schaeffer

The 2003 Tony Award®-Winner for Best Musical

The world is spinning out of control...but all Tracy Turnblad wants to do is dance.

When she wins a coveted spot on "The Corny Collins Show," Baltimore's most popular teen dance program, the high school loser with the big heart, big personality and big hair proves everyone wrong and becomes a local TV celebrity. It seems like Tracy will have it all - the eye of heartthrob Link Larkin, the Miss Teenage Hairspray crown, even a modeling gig with Mr. Pinky's Hefty Hideaway.

But is segregated Baltimore ready to embrace her demand for racial integration? And will her larger-than-life mother ever leave the house?

November 2011 - January 2012 in the MAX

World Premiere

By Paul Downs Colaizzo
Directed by Matthew Gardiner

"The gem of this generation, and the upside to our selfishness, is the invincibility we espouse."

From one of the country's most promising new voices comes this contemporary drama that pushes the edges and embraces the harsh reality of today's youth.

At an elite university, when the party of the year results in the regret of a lifetime, one person will stop at nothing to salvage her suddenly evaporating future. In this quick-witted and gripping comic tragedy about "Generation Me," it's every man for himself.

January - March 2012 in the ARK

World Premiere

Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana Rowe
Directed by Eric Schaeffer

A world premiere rock musical from the award-winning creators of The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick.

In a desolate potato field north of Omsk, a comically fourth-rate Russian theatre troupe sets up its tents and wows the local farmers with rock-fueled adaptations of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tonight, however, the company will toss classic literature aside to showcase the life story of their impresario and star, the seemingly immortal Brother Russia - more commonly known as Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Yes, that Rasputin: the hypnotic mystic who seduced and ruled the Tsar and Tsarina in the waning days of Imperial Russia.

"Dempsey's lyrics are exceptionally witty, and Rowe's music jaunty and tuneful, yet with the sophisticated sweep of a Sondheim." - TIME Magazine

February - March 2012 in the MAX

Washington Premiere 
By Yasmina Reza 
Translated by Christopher Hampton

The three-time 2009 Tony Award®-Winner, including Best Play

From the award-winning author of Art comes this shrewd and vicious comedy that gleefully flouts the perception of human "civility."

Two upper-middle-class Brooklyn couples meet to discuss an incident of playground violence between their sons. Though the evening begins with polite pleasantries, it quickly descends into primal madness as tempers flare, loyalties shift and the parents devolve into children. Like last season's Art, Reza ferociously and hilariously strips her affluent, over-achieving characters down to their savage core.

"An expert piece of stagecraft, and savagely funny." - International Herald Tribune

April - June 2012 in the ARK

Washington Premiere

Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Music & Lyrics by Jeff Lynne
Based on the 1980 Universal Pictures film
Directed & Choreographed by Matthew Gardiner

The award-winning instant cult classic musical comedy - featuring the hit songs "Magic," "Suddenly" and "I'm Alive"

Grab your loved ones and glow sticks - as Signature turns the MAX Theatre into one big disco-heaven ball!

1980. Venice, California. Legwarmers are in and roller skates are way sexy.

Xanadu, the zany send-up of the cult film starring Olivia Newton-John, delivers rock-star hilarity in an electrifying tale of forbidden love. Kira, one of nine quirky Greek muses, is sworn to three things: to inspire mortals, never reveal her identity and never, ever fall in love. However, when she emboldens struggling artist Sonny to create the first roller disco, Kira feels the artistic pull of her own.

"Heaven on wheels...outlandishly enjoyable." - The New York Times

April - May 2012 in the MAX


In addition to the mainstage productions, Signature will also be presenting three shows with limited engagements. Subscription add-on tickets for these limited engagements are $41 each.

Washington DC Premiere

Written and performed by E. Patrick Johnson

Based on his award-winning and critically acclaimed book, E. Patrick Johnson stars in this new one-man exploration into the southern black gay community. A fascinating, validating oral history inspired by the author's personal journey, Sweet Tea explores the perceptions, angst, triumphs and vulnerabilities of this minority within a minority. With passion and insight, Johnson reinforces the spoken-word tradition while challenging stereotypes - and finding humor, humanity and hope within.

September - October 2011 in the ARK
Tues. & Wed. 7:30 pm, Thurs. & Fri. 8pm, Sat. 2pm & 8pm, Sun. 2pm & 7pm

Book by Julius and Philip Epstein

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Sondheim. Signature's Signature. Stephen Sondheim's hidden gem Saturday Night (1953) is a Signature special concert event that will play for four performances only. Unproduced for almost 45 years, Saturday Night is the first musical Mr. Sondheim ever wrote. This romantic comedy surges with the composer's unique musical voice and sophisticated lyrics. On the eve of the 1929 stock market crash, a group of Brooklyn Boys despair their dateless Saturday nights. One of them dreams of Manhattan society life and hatches a get rich quick scheme which ultimately backfires. Features gems such as "Saturday Night," "So Many People" and "What More Do I Need?"

October 2011 in the MAX
Sat. 2pm & 8pm and Sun. 2pm & 7pm only

World Premiere

Book, Music & Lyrics by Ted Shen
Directed by Jonathan Butterell

From the director of Signature's Giant comes this intimate new musical about unexpectedly finding love when you are least looking for it. Two savvy New Yorkers are seated next each other at a dinner party - he is mourning the recent loss of his wife; she is newly divorced. They share a passion for art. Neither wants nor feels that they deserve to find love - and yet they are irresistibly drawn to the other. This lyrical duet showcases their journey towards happiness against all the odds.

November 2011 in the ARK
Tues. & Wed. 7:30 pm, Thurs. & Fri. 8pm, Sat. 2pm & 8pm, Sun. 2pm & 7pm

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Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski

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